FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – A critical early-season stretch begins on Saturday afternoon, when the New England Revolution will host the Houston Dynamo at Gillette Stadium. Along with upcoming home games against the San Jose Earthquakes (April 19) and D.C. United (April 22), the Revs will play three of their next four games in Foxborough.
Houston (3-1-0, 9 pts.) and New England (1-2-1, 4 pts.) will get underway at 2 p.m. on Saturday, with coverage in English on both CSN New England and 98.5 The Sports Hub HD2, and in Portuguese on WMVX 1570 AM. Brad Feldman and Paul Mariner will have the call from the booth, with Naoko Funayama on the sideline.
Revolution Postgame Live will begin immediately after the final whistle on CSN New England.
Current Form: Revs feel the tides turning with four points from two games
Lee Nguyen’s dramatic late equalizer earned the Revs a vital point last weekend in Portland, where Josh Smith made an impressive debut and Antonio Delamea was once again stellar in a 1-1 draw with the Timbers.
Combined with their 5-2 win over Minnesota United FC in their only home game to date, the Revolution are gaining in confidence and have a bit of momentum ahead of this weekend’s clash with the Dynamo, although head coach Jay Heaps does want to see a more consistent killer instinct in the final third.
“We just need to be more lethal,” Heaps said. “It’s the final pass and the final ball. When we’re on our game, it comes easy, but when it’s not coming easy, that’s when we have to manufacture it sometimes.
“We have to do a little bit of a better job when it’s not going exactly how we want it to. Against Minnesota, the final ball was there. But when it’s not there, how do we manufacture the right result?”
For the second straight week the Revs will face one of the league’s top attacks, as Houston have scored multiple goals in all four of their games this season, paced by MLS leading scorer Erick “Cubo” Torres (six goals).
The Dynamo will visit Foxborough in search of their first road point, however, having won all three of their home games while dropping their lone trip outside The Lone Star State, a 4-2 loss in Portland.
“Like Portland, they won a bunch of games at the beginning and then had their first loss, and they were hungry,” said Kelyn Rowe, referencing the Dynamo’s 4-1 win over the New York Red Bulls last weekend. “It’s going to be the same thing this weekend. It’s going to be a battle, because Houston is on that high coming in here, so we need to make sure we can buckle down and prepare for a fight.”
Past Meetings: Revs aiming to continue recent success against Dynamo
New England’s historical success against Houston – MLS Cup Finals notwithstanding – has been on full display the past few years, as the Revs are 3-0-1 against the Dynamo since April 2014.
The sides haven’t met in more than a year; not since Daigo Kobayashi’s stoppage-time equalizer earned the Revolution a 3-3 draw in Houston to kick off the 2016 season last March.
The Dynamo’s last visit to Gillette Stadium was a memorable one for many reasons, most notably because a pair of weather delays totaling almost three hours pushed the game into the wee hours of the following morning. In the end, goals from Jose Goncalves and Juan Agudelo earned the Revs a 2-0 win.
Injury Report: For a third straight week, Revs’ injury report is bare
Another week, another clean bill of health for the Revolution.
Xavier Kouassi returned to New England’s starting lineup last weekend in Portland and went the full 90 minutes for the first time in his MLS career, marking another significant step in his road to recovery.
There was some concern for Josh Smith, who went off in stoppage time of his professional debut with cramping, but a dislocated thumb won’t keep the rookie out of the reckoning for another appearance this weekend.
Houston haven’t been quite as fortunate, as they’ll be without four players for this weekend’s showdown: Agus (hamstring), Juan David Cabezas (concussion), George Malki (knee) and Romell Quioto (shoulder).
Final Thoughts: Bunbury says Revs-Dynamo is “going to be a fun match”
“It’s good that we’re able to see how other teams play, but ultimately – and it might be a cliché thing – it’s really about how we play, how we prepare for the game,” said Teal Bunbury, who has appeared off the bench in each of the Revolution’s first four games.
“We’re going to know their tendencies, we’re going to know their key players, but when we’re at home, we love to attack. We love to possess the ball. I think our last game against Minnesota at home just proved that we could score a lot of goals and we can play. It’s going to be a fun match.”